Who: No. 19 Michigan Wolverines vs. Holy Cross Crusaders
Where: Crisler Center (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
When: Saturday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. ET
Point spread: No line (Michigan projected to win by 18 on KenPom.com)
Watch: BTN Plus
Listen: Detroit: WWJ-950 AM; Ann Arbor: WWWW-102.9 FM; anywhere: MGoBlue.com
Tickets: MGoBlue.com ($15)
Promotions: John Beilein 800 wins poster (first 5,000 fans); Speed painter (halftime show)
Follow: Andrew Kahn
Michigan raised two banners before its season opener on Tuesday night and celebrated 800 college wins for head coach John Beilein afterwards. In between, the Wolverines beat Norfolk State 63-44. They’ll try to avoid a letdown Saturday against Holy Cross ahead of a national championship rematch with Villanova next week.
Bill Carmody is in his fourth season at Holy Cross. Carmody was a long-time assistant at Princeton under Hall of Famer Pete Carril, and took over when Carril retired. He then moved to Northwestern, where he coached for 13 years until 2013.
Carmody’s teams run the Princeton-style offense, which is heavy on backdoor cuts and features a center who can pass. Beilein recently recalled watching an instructional video, before he got to Michigan, in which Carril explained the offense. Beilein incorporates some of the concepts into his own offense, but the challenge this week has been teaching his players how to defend it.
“If you have ever even tried to guard a Princeton-type offense, they take the rules of basketball and change them for you, so you have to change all your rules,” Beilein said Friday. “And a couple of our young kids, their heads are ready to explode right now, because we’ve been saying one thing all year and then we say, ‘No, you can’t do that anymore.'”
The Crusaders beat Sacred Heart 93-81 in their opener on Tuesday. Sacred Heart shot very well but committed 20 turnovers. Sophomore guard Austin Butler scored 26 points for Holy Cross, hitting four 3s.
Holy Cross, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, finished 12-19 last year, including 8-10 in the Patriot League. The Crusaders were picked to finish fifth in the 10-team league this year. Jehyve Floyd, a 6-foot-8 senior, is a preseason all-conference selection and the reigning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. Floyd had 11 of his team’s 25 assists in the opener.
Michigan will try to find its shooting stroke in advance of Wednesday’s trip to Villanova. Against Norfolk State, the Wolverines shot 36 percent from the field, 6-of-26 from 3, and 13-of-29 from the foul line.
The focus the last couple of practices, however, has been on defense, as Michigan prepares for the unique offense it will face Saturday. “Hopefully we have enough attention to it that we’ll be able to understand some of the concepts just before they beat us backdoor or just before they throw a hook pass from the big center,” Beilein said.